2013-14 Season Preview: Washington Capitals

 

LAST SEASON

Regular Season:  After a very sluggish start to the season, the Capitals, led by Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green, made a run to the post-season that say them end up in the third seed by way of winning the Southeast Division.  They were the only Southeast team to qualify for the post-season.

Playoffs:  The Capitals matched up against the Rangers in the first round, bowing out to the Broadway Blueshirts in 7 games.

 

Mar 30, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson (74) during the game against the Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center. Capitals beat the Sabres 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

CHANGES

Out: F Mike Ribeiro, D Tom Poti, D Jeff Schultz

In:  F Mikhail Grabovski,

Ready To Make The Jump:  F Tom Wilson

 

BIG 3 FACTORS

1.  Ovie Back?: While some would argue that he never really left, the second half resurgence could signify the Great 8′s return to dominance in the NHL. If that is the case, he will make it a long night for a lot of teams.

2.  Under the Radar:  A couple of Caps got rather surprising invites to Team Canada’s Olympic orientation camp – Braden Holtby and Karl Alzner, both talented players who don’t necessarily always get that level of respect.  It will be interesting to see if the invites give these two players the confidence to step their game up to another level in the regular season.

3.  Grabovski Effect:  Considered vastly overpaid for his last year in Toronto and a buyout victim, Grabovski was a late summer signing for the Caps, probably insurance against not being able to come to terms with Marcus Johansson. Grabovski wants to be paid like a first liner, will get a chance as a second liner, and lately has been playing as a third liner.

 

PROGNOSIS:  The big factors for the Capitals might be having Brooks Laich healthy for a full season and in the top 6 forward mix.  Grabovski essentially replaces Ribeiro, although might not be as good at making those around him better as Ribeiro was. If Holtby can step into the upper echelon then the Caps might make some noise.

PREDICTION:  The former Southeast division teams are all going to find it a different environment.  Washington will be no exception.  4th in Metropolitan Division, with danger of being a victim of the crossover from the Atlantic.

 

 

 

We have been and will be previewing every NHL team ahead of Training Camp which for most teams will begin on Sept 11th.  As a twist, we will be unveiling our teams in reverse order to how I predict they will finish in the standings.  Here is the schedule (you can click on a team name to see the preview for that team):

Predicted Finish Atlantic Metropolitan Central Pacific
1 Sept 9 Sept 8 Sept 7 Sept 6
2 Sept 5 Sept 4 Sept 3 Sept 2
3 Sept 1 Aug 31 Aug 30 Aug 29
4 Aug 28 Capitals Wild Ducks
5 Canadiens Hurricanes Avalanche Oilers
6 Lightning Islanders Jets Coyotes
7 Sabres Blue Jackets Stars Flames
8 Panthers Devils

Tags: 2013-14 Season Preview Alex Ovechkin Braden Holtby Karl Alzner Mikhail Grabovski Washington Capitals

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